Tip o’ the Month – Doc Production

While a lot can be planned out prior to a documentary shoot (at least, more than folks assume), there are often some on-the-fly decisions that need to be made.  Here is a little pointer that could prove useful in that situation:

Follow this rule: Wow, So Glad I Focused!

W – White Balance (is your camera balanced for daylight or tungsten? get that white piece of paper out and fix that sh!t)

S – Subject (is your subject located in a place that is good for sound, and says something about that person? never film an interview with the person in front of a white wall unless you have a really good reason to… the more distance between a person and the background can create a more interesting image…more depth, more content, and possibly a nice focus effect)

G – Gain (if you're in a dark environment, turning up the gain will adjust the camera settings so that it allows more light in, but the quality of the image may be lowered if the gain is turned up too much)

I – Iris (this device determines how much light will be let into the lens…best not to let this be on “auto” because if you pan the camera to an area that has a lot more or less light {i.e. a bright window, when you're already indoors} the light will shift drastically to accommodate the brightest thing it sees)

F – Focus (uh-derr.. we don't like things out of focus unless it's done for some artsy reason)